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68-year-old woman manages to land small plane after pilot passes out
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68-year-old woman manages to land small plane after pilot passes out

A female passenger aboard a small plane flying from New York to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, managed to land the plane after the pilot passed out behind the controls.

Just before 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, two people were aboard a six-seater Piper Meridian turboprop plane, flying from White Plains, New York, to Martha's Vineyard. As the plane came in for a landing at Martha’s Vineyard Airport, the 79-year-old pilot began experiencing a serious medical episode that caused him to lose consciousness.

His 68-year-old female companion then took control and managed to guide the plane to the earth without landing gear. Reports indicate that the landing, which occurred hundreds of feet from the runway, was "hard," and the left wing of the plane broke in half on impact. However, despite the terrifying circumstances, the woman survived the crash with only minor injuries.

She and the pilot were immediately transported to a local hospital, where the woman was evaluated and later released. The pilot was flown by helicopter to Boston in serious, life-threatening condition, state police said. As of Monday afternoon, there have been no updates about his condition.

After the crash, the airport had to suspend operations on its primary runway. While the runway reopened to some traffic about two hours later, some flights that afternoon and evening had to be rescheduled for Sunday. The damaged plane, which remained off to the side while traffic resumed at the airport, was eventually removed and stored in a secure location later that night.

According to reports, the plane is owned by Access Yacht Sales Inc, based in Norwalk, Connecticut. The two on board were also reportedly the owners, though their names and their relationship to one another have not been released.

The crash remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the Massachusetts State Police.

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